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How much do movers cost?

From a few hundred (local, DIY) to several thousand (long-distance)

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    Hiring movers can save you time and stress and ensure that your move is managed professionally. Moving services can cost anywhere between a few hundred and several thousand dollars, depending on how far you’re moving and how much work you’re willing to do yourself. How much you’re moving is also a factor.

    Not every move requires a moving company, but for many, professional movers can significantly simplify the relocation process. If you have the budget for it, it’s definitely worth considering hiring movers — they can even help with packing and unpacking if you’re willing and able to pay for this added expense.

    Key insights

    • The cost of your move depends mostly on the distance to your new home and how many things you have.
    • Local movers tend to charge by the hour (per worker).
    • For a long-distance move, you can expect to pay a flat fee based on the distance and the weight or volume of your items.
    • If you need help with packing, unpacking, assembling or disassembling furniture, make sure to factor in these added costs.

    Average moving costs

    The average cost for a local move is $80 to $100 per hour for a team of two movers. The total cost you’ll pay for a local move depends mostly on how long it takes the moving crew to load and unload the truck — meaning the more items you have, the more you’ll pay to move them.

    Long-distance moves tend to be significantly more expensive. On average, it costs around $5,000 for a move that crosses state lines and spans more than 1,000 miles. Long-distance moving costs can range from a few thousand dollars to closer to $10,000, depending on the distance you’re traveling and the size of the load you’re moving.

    What affects your total moving costs?

    A few key factors determine your total moving costs:

    • The size of your home: As you might expect, moving a four-bedroom house typically costs more than moving a studio apartment. When movers give you a quote, they’ll ask how many bedrooms you’re moving and the square footage of your home so they can give you a close estimate, but they may need to complete a walk-through of your home in order to get you the most accurate quote.
    • Location: If you live in an apartment building with a lot of stairs or faraway parking, you may be charged an extra fee. Even living above ground level (upstairs) can add to your cost. Your neighborhood can also affect your price — not all city streets are wide enough for parking a moving truck. Some movers include a fee if they have to walk more than 75 feet from your home to the truck.
    • Distance and travel fees: For a long-distance move, the distance between your current and future home is one of the main cost factors.
    • Extra stops: Making more than one stop will also cost extra, so expect to pay more if you’re loading or unloading items in multiple locations, like both your house and a storage unit.
    • Specialty items: Movers charge more to transport large, heavy or bulky items like pianos, grandfather clocks, delicate antiques and art. You’ll also need to factor in the cost of extra insurance for high-value items. Know that there are some items movers won’t move, like car batteries, pool chemicals and perishable items. They also recommend you move cherished personal items, like family photos and heirloom jewelry, yourself. It’s hard to put a price on those things, so consider making your own arrangements to transport them.
    • Time of week and year: "You wouldn't believe how much the day of your move affects the cost of your relocation. Weekends are the busiest moving days — since these are the days when demand is normally at its lowest, scheduling your move for the middle of the week and the middle of the month will significantly cut your costs," according to Jenny Ly, travel blogger at Go Wanderly. "The best time to relocate is between October and April because May through September is the peak moving season."

    How much do moving services cost?

    Basic moving services consist of a team loading a truck with your belongings, transporting them to your new location and unloading them at your new home. There are extra charges for both local and long-distance moves, however, if you opt for additional services.

    • Packing services: If you want your movers to pack and unpack your home for you, plan on spending an additional $300 to $500. You’ll pay for labor by the hour, and there may be additional costs to cover supplies. The added cost could be worth it for the amount of time and stress you can save by not having to pack up your house yourself.
    • Storage units: If you need to store your items in a portable storage container or a storage unit, don’t forget to factor that cost into your total moving budget. Storage services can be a handy solution when needed, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to a few hundred dollars each month your belongings are in storage, depending on the size of the unit or container you need.
    • Moving insurance: Moving insurance protects you financially if your items are lost or damaged during a move. The average cost for full-value protection moving insurance is between 1% and 5% of the value of the insured goods, so if you want to insure $10,000 worth of items, you can expect to pay between $100 and $500 for moving insurance.

    How to calculate moving costs

    Example of how to calculate local move costs (by hour):
    $40 per hour x 2 movers = $80 per hour x 8 hours = $640

    To calculate your potential moving costs, you’ll need to factor in the weight of your belongings, the distance of the move and labor costs. For a local move, you’ll likely be charged for labor by the hour, so the biggest factor will be how much stuff you have and how long it takes the movers to load and unload your boxes.

    Add in any extras, like charges for specialty items, stair fees or packing materials you’ll be buying, to get your total estimated moving costs.

    Long-distance moves aren’t as easy to estimate with a simple formula, though you can expect to pay more the farther you travel. Your best bet is to get a quote from a few different companies during the planning phase of your move.

    » READ MORE: What to know about moving quotes

    How much does a local move cost?

    For local moves (within 50 miles), you can expect to pay movers by the hour. If you have two people handling the move, your moving costs may add up to between $80 and $100 per hour. You can expect to pay more per hour for a larger crew — but they’ll likely finish faster in this case, so costs tend to even out.

    Average cost to move a three-bedroom house

    Moving a three-bedroom house is likely to cost you between $600 and $1,000 if you’re making a local move. This average is based on a moving weight of 10,000 pounds and doesn’t include extra services, like packing and unpacking.

    Local move estimates based on home size

    Property sizeAverage weightNumber of hoursEstimated cost
    One-bedroom home3,500 pounds3 to 5 hours$240 to $500
    Two-bedroom home5,000 pounds5 to 7 hours$400 to $700
    Three-bedroom home10,000 pounds7 to 10 hours$560 to $1,000
    Four-bedroom home12,000+ poundsOver 10 hours$800 to $2,000

    How much do long-distance movers cost?

    When you’re budgeting for a long-distance move, you shouldn’t plan to pay by the hour with most moving companies. Instead, you’ll pay a flat fee based on your starting point, your ending point and the total weight or volume of furniture and other goods you’re moving.

    Depending on the size of your load, you can expect to pay between $2,000 and $8,000 for professional movers to take you more than 100 miles from your current home.

    Long-distance moving quotes for a three-bedroom home

    FromToMilesAverage cost
    Los AngelesPhoenix365$3,753
    Springfield, ILDenver811$4,760
    Trenton, NJHouston1,367$5,930
    Sacramento, CARaleigh, NC2,343$7,713

    » CALCULATE: How to make a moving budget

    Should you pay for a full-service mover?

    So you’ve decided to dish out the dough for a professional mover — but how much help do you want to pay for?

    If you have the money and could use the help, hiring someone to disassemble, pack, load, transport, unload, unpack and reassemble your things can be a huge help, especially for international moves.

    One of our reviewers from Australia said about their experience with a full-service mover: ​​”Yes, they are expensive. But it was worth it. They packed our dishes, the important sentimental breakables, our valuable framed pictures and all those things we couldn't replace, as if they were packing the crown jewels. … Almost every single decorative thing I cared about arrived in perfect condition.”

    They did continue, however, with a mild warning: “I will say, in the interest of full disclosure, that the furniture wasn't so lucky. There were some scrapes and dents in wood furniture, and the legs of the outdoor table and a chair were broken, as well as the support of a china cabinet.” Still, they were happy with their experience and found the higher price worth it.

    Ultimately, this decision depends on whether you can afford the extra help and how much you think it will simplify your move — and save you in stress.

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      How much does a moving truck cost to rent?

      Renting a moving truck for a do-it-yourself move can cost anywhere from $100 to several thousand dollars, depending on the specifics of your move. The truck size, the time it takes you to move, the distance you need to drive and gasoline prices all play a factor in the cost of a moving truck rental. A local move is likely to be pretty affordable and cost just a few hundred dollars, while a cross-country trek will be significantly more expensive.

      How much do moving boxes cost?

      The cost of moving boxes depends on size and style. The size of your home and how much stuff you have (and how large your belongings are) will determine how many boxes you need. For the average three-bedroom home, we estimate brand-new boxes will cost around $450. This includes a mix of small, medium and large boxes, plus wardrobe boxes and picture boxes.

      You can save a significant amount of money by reusing old boxes and collecting boxes from friends, family or local stores willing to give you any they are planning to recycle. Specialty boxes aren’t necessary, so things like wardrobe boxes are optional, depending on your budget and your preferences. While these boxes make it easier to store and transport your clothing, you can also fold and store clothing items in regular boxes or even large trash bags — especially for local moves.

      How much do moving supplies cost?

      Moving supplies include items such as bubble cushioning material, packing tape, packing paper and stretch wrap to protect furniture from damage. For a three-bedroom home, you can plan to add another $80 or so to your budget for these items.

      Some cost-saving measures include using old newspapers, tissue paper and magazines in place of packing paper or cushioning material, but you don’t want to skimp on protecting valuable items. It can be much cheaper to invest in bubble cushioning material than to replace an item if it breaks during a move.

      How much do you tip movers?

      We recommend tipping movers between 5% and 20% of the total cost of the move, but you aren’t required to tip your movers, especially if you’re dissatisfied with the service.

      How much does it cost to move a car?

      You can expect to pay between $500 to $1,500 to ship a car long-distance. Transporting a vehicle is a specialty service, so you’ll want to look for a company that specializes in auto transport.

      Bottom line

      A professional mover can cost you a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on the specifics of your move, like the distance, the number of labor hours and the size of your home. While the price of a long-distance move may give you sticker shock, it’s important to consider the savings in time and stress that come with professional assistance.

      There are ways to make your move cheaper, including purging items you no longer need in advance and moving during an off-season like winter, so it’s best to plan well in advance if possible.

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